05:53 am - Thursday 20 September 2018

Malawi needs a huge overhaul

By Analytical Rose - Fri Aug 15, 12:19 pm

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Malawi: It is just short of three months since the elections were held in Malawi. So far it seems DPP have understood Malawi’s problems and they are doing their best to address relevant issues. It is no mean task; Malawi is in a mess, systems have been allowed to decay, morality has plummeted generally, public money has been squandered, and attitudes have changed completely in the wrong direction for the country!To some extent therefore I feel very deeply for the present Government because they need to correct this mess before development is seen or felt and people’s impatience can be difficult to contain.

I am very impressed in the manner in which government so far is trying their best to inform the public what is happening. I strongly believe that if people know what you are doing and why you are doing it, that way people get to understand and support your direction. Rumour usually prevails in Malawi and this causes a lot of instability and fear in the country so I would like to encourage the present and future governments to contiue to communicate with their people.However on the part of the citizen, I would like to encourage a diffferent mindset. As a culture we have a tendency to comment on issues we do not necessarily understand well or know about sufficiently to be able to comment. I feel this causes immense confusion. I read a comment recently made by one ms Kwataine on the issue of there not being enough medicines in hospitals and she went further to say that “yet the government has bought a VX.” First of all I don’t know if the money a VX costs is enough to solve Malawi’s shortage of medicines. Secondly what I wish this lady would have done would be to do her research into why we have this chronic shortgae of medicines in our hospitals and then look at what the government is doing and ask them why they are not doing a,b,c,to solve the problem. For example I understand that private clinics pilferage medications from state owned hospitals, so what we need is a stirct system that will make sure nobody does this! It is all very good to say money has been misused- ok but how much was the budget for health say in the last financial year? and how much of it was spent on what and what were we not able to purchase with this budget? and if the Government is not addressing this then we want to know why? Personally I feel this is the job of the opposition instead of dwelling on personal issues or flimsy emotional outbursts.

A market in Malawi

A market in Malawi

One thing that worries me as a Malawian is that we have either completely lost or are losing our sense of self respect and pride as a nation.There are things happening now which are no good for us as a society and yet they seem to be catching on like fire. I would like to appeal to you all my fellow Malawians to look at this long and hard. I spend a lot of time travelling out of Malawi but I frequently go back there and what I see and feel is this idea that to get wealth one needs to cheat the system somehow. I suppose things like cashgate are based on this false concept.People in very respectable jobs feel that if they cheat the system they will get rich and get comfortable. I would like us to look at this very carefully indeed;

Public services are a type of insurance that when you need it, it is there to look after you. So you see these services, they belong to all of us and there is no telling when you or your mother will need that hospital bed! there is not even any way in whcih you can tell how often you need that operating theatre this year!but if, if it is there in good order ready for when it is needed you will also benefit from it if you support it’s existence.On the other hand if you misuse the money meant for that service to carry on, yes you may feel rich at that point but you are in effect making yourself poorer because when you are next ill to use one example, you will struggle to get care!certainly you will find it hard to afford care for your relatives when they need the service. So not only is cheating public services false economy it is also very irresponsible and stupid because in the long run you are only depriving yourself of services you and your family and extended families would have used. Malawians need to start looking at the broader picture:
Looking after oneself is a very broad concept which includes looking after others as well so that they look after you.It is disheartening, and I know that cash gate hearings are still in the process within the courts in the country, but if you observe the names being associated with this scandal, they are all the educated brass!Alass! these are the people that a country needs to look up to, to make informed decisions in different polices in the country! Why have they gone astray! This mind set needs to change and future generations need to reclaim back the responsible attitudes that our fore fathers instilled in us! for I know they were there before!I have experienced Malawi as a youngster, one could be proud how descent a society we were once!We need to restore this at individual levels, we need to restore descency in schools, in every training centre, in every family and yes especially in Government because there is so much responsibility.

Let’s take another example , if money for civil servants is squandered by the few who are supposed to manage it, the civil servants won’t get paid at the end of the month! this has happened in Malawi, nurses going to work for 6 months with no pay! school teachers working many months for no pay! while a few supposed to be educated and responsible citizens have more cars than they need. But this stops your child needs to be taught by this teacher who is not able to support his family because he has no money, in fact people start not going to work because they could not see the point! your sister who is in labour needs that midwife who failed to come to work because she could not pay her bus fair because she has not been paid for the last 6 months!

We all depend on each other, cheating and plundering is not a way forward it is a way backward and something very drastic, very urgent needs to happen to stop this very dispeacable trend our country is getting into! We were once an admirable nation that cared for it’s elderly and cared for neighbours and friends and worked hard for the money in our pocket! very quickly this has changed to adopting quick poor ways of trying to survive, I strongly feel we need to change our ways because we will not get very far as country. From a very young age, from very early school days the importance of intergrity should be taught! the importance of self respect and pride to be Malawian should be taught! we are losing our grip!

It seems to me the Mutharika adminstration is doing it’s best to restore stability into Malawi. One very important issue that needs to be appreciated by ALL malawians is that the President can try! The cabinet can try! But in fact the most important player in this process are the people! people are the ones that keep order, people are the ones that raise future citizens, people are the ones that relate to each other on a daily basis, the policy makers simply organise. If we do not help them to help us we are lost. The Government can give us a state of the art Hospital with plenty of drugs in it! but if each and every one of us does not take personal responsibility not to ‘pinch’ the medications for the hospital; not to waste the medications from the hospital; not abuse the equipment in the hospital they will not last long and we will back to square one again.Imagine if every one of
us took pride in the service we offer on a daily basis what ever it is- did it really well and cared for the people that use that service in our country, can you imagine how good the standards would be? But notice only because WE have done it . Its our responsibility to make Malawi better for us!

Have we got into a complaining syndrome where we think it’s up to the world to help us? The reality is with better management , with some honest self questioning and a huge change of mind set from a passive critic who complains about every system to a more positive pro active person who is proud enough to be Malawian and see the many, many, resources we could put to use and develop our country as we should do! we can improve fast!The next 50 years ought to be much better than the last 50years. Who can we blame now? the colonials are long gone? There are those that say well we were not given a chance to develop! I agree! But friends that is what oppression is all about!- and colonialism was about oppression we need to recognise! but now we are our own masters! now and that is what all those people died for while fighting for independence wars in our country! we decide where we are going and let’s do that efficiently!

Yes if you leave yourself vulnerable people will treat you accordingly. so for western donnors to start questioning the wisdom of continuing aid to an irresponsible government as it was until recently is absolutely commendable! in any case more lending means people forgetting how limited our means are! we then do not get suffciently innovative to improve our situation because uncle Cameron (UK)or uncle Barack(USA) is ready to help!

The government is from what I see over hauling the systems. To help this to work as citzens we need to overhaul our thinking.We need to start respecting the law. We need to start respecting our sweat and not expect a quick buck, we need to start believeing in ourselves because yes we can improve ourselves even in Malawi if only we think constructively. Doing good to one person is in the end doing doing good to yourself because in one way or another it always comes back to you.These principles are not new to Malawians but I have felt lately we are beginning to go astray and my fear is that this is going to waste our precious time in which we could be developing our little paradise Malawi. We can do it Folks we can do it! Look at yourself and make sure those thoughts you have are constructive for living and being Malawian. Emotional intelligence is a practice we could adopt very avidly in our country for it forms the basis for digesting information usefully.

Can I recommend to the minister of education to start looking at introducing principles in our children’s learning around who they are, what being Malawian means and how to be responsible for themselves as well as their neighbour. I pick on education because there is no better time to mould thinking than in the very young!

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